We've just passed the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the miners' strike in Britain, a strike which began in March 1984, lasted nearly a year and involved some 120,000 workers; a strike moreover which had its roots in the whole period beforehand of international class struggle. Despite returning to this question over a couple of decades, and particularly on anniversaries, we make no apology for looking at this issue once again given that the lessons of this strike and its defeat, the role of the trade unions - particularly the National Union of Miners - are important not only for the working class in Britain but also for the proletariat internationally.
We are publishing Dave Douglass' response, alongside our reply, to the article '25 Years since the Miners' strike (posted online 9 July 2009). We welcome comments on all our articles in order to develop the discussion between revolutionaries and will answer all serious correspondence.
It is twenty-five years since the
massive year long miners' strike in Britain. Nearly 120,000 workers
spent an entire year on strike from March 1984 to March 1985. Today we return
to look at this strike not as an abstract academic piece of history, but as an
opportunity for workers and communists to draw what lessons we can from the
strike itself, and to help us understand the historic period in which we work
The lesson of the 1984 miners' strike for the working class today is that all unions, with their rule books, their bureaucracy, sectional and corporatist set ups, and relations with the Labour Party, are part of the state and work against the self-organisation and extension of struggles under the control of workers themselves.